Student in Trump hat denies mocking Native American activist in videotaped encounter

Screenshot  YouTube KC NOLAND

Screenshot YouTube KC NOLAND

However, new video (below) that circulated on social media Sunday appeared to show a Native American adult approached the students and instigated the interaction, leading some commentators to retract their previous criticisms of the students.

He cautioned against rushing to judgment based on the short time captured on the videos and encouraged people to watch longer clips available online, "as they show a much different story than is being portrayed by people with agendas", he said.

The Washington Post reports the man, identified as Nathan Phillips, lives in MI.

Officials said they are investigating and will take "appropriate action, up to and including expulsion".

The video of Mr Sandmann standing very close to Mr Phillips, staring and at times smiling at him as Phillips sang and played a drum, gave many the impression that Sandmann was being provocative.

The camera then turns to the students, who were in Washington for an anti-abortion rally, some of whom were wearing hats with President Donald Trump's campaign slogan.

According to the Indian Country Today website, Mr Phillips is an Omaha elder and Vietnam veteran who holds an annual ceremony honouring Native American veterans at Arlington National Cemetery.

Other students appeared to be laughing at the drummer, and at least one could be seen on video doing a tomahawk chop.

He said in his statement that he was "startled and confused" by Phillips's approach with his drum.

"I said a silent prayer that the situation would not get out of hand", he wrote.

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"It clearly demonstrates the validity of our concerns about the marginalisation and disrespect of indigenous peoples, and it shows that traditional knowledge is being ignored by those who should listen most closely", he added.

In an interview posted on Twitter, an emotional Phillips talked about what happened.

"I don't like the word 'hate, '" Phillips said.

Sandmann also denied anyone said "build that wall" or anything hateful.

The school quickly criticized the students' for their behavior in a joint statement with the Diocese of Covington, saying: ' We condemn the actions of the Covington Catholic High School students towards Nathan Phillips specifically, and Native Americans in general.

Mr Phillips told AP news agency he was trying to reach the Lincoln statue to pray when one of the students blocked him.

"I never interacted with the protester".

A student jumped in front of the group, ripped his shirt off and led his schoolmates in a chant and dance. "I believe he should re-think his tactics of invading the personal space of others, but that is his choice to make".

Separately, one of the men in the Hebrew Israelites group issued a Facebook video, saying that the students had "started it".

"We were there to teach, to teach the truth of the Bible, to show them our real history", Shar Yaqataz Banyamyan told the Post.

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